For the past few weeks, we at Crystal Ball Run have written about the major college football award watch lists. I was astounded by how many players actually get onto each list. Does every player on the watch lists have an actual chance of winning the award, or are these award presenters just hedging their bets?
The Wall Street Journal investigated (strong word, but accurate) this occurrence, crunched the numbers and compared the number of players listed on the watch lists to those actually starting on the 125 FBS teams. The Biletnikoff Award watch list alone has 75 wide receivers on it, but that's a low percentage of starters on the list compared to some other positions.
The WSJ based its findings on the lineups of one quarterback, five offensive lineman, three wide receivers, one tight end, one running back and four defensive linemen. These statistics show that 50 percent of 125 starting running backs in college football made the Doak Walker watch list, 35 percent of tight ends made the Mackey watch list and 27 percent of quarterbacks made the O'Brien watch list. The most competitive watch list to get on is the Thorpe Award for best defensive back. Only 48 of the 500 – or less than 10 percent – starting DBs in college football make the watch list.
Of the 37 tight ends selected for the Mackey Award watch list, I can't wait to watch Alabama tight end Brian Vogler who has two career catches for 21 yards. He's obviously a huge talent and needs to be watched. Along with previously unheard of players listed who could have obvious breakout seasons like Vogler, the WSJ points out that the watch lists don't always pick the right players. Two of the past three Davey O'Brien Award winners for best quarterback weren't on the watch list to begin the season: Auburn's Cam Newton in 2010 and Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel last year.
The criteria to be placed on a watch list must be: 1) Start, 2) Do Something, 3) Don't Suck.
Though these watch lists are hilariously large, only one player eventually wins and the process sorts itself out. They do, however, give us something to talk about during the offseason.